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  • Series Premiere Date: May 11, 2014
  • Season #: 1
Penny Dreadful Image
Metascore
70

Generally favorable reviews - based on 37 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 211 Ratings

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  • Starring: Danny Sapani, Billie Piper, Rory Kinnear
  • Summary: In Victorian London, Vanessa Ives (Eva Green), Sir Malcolm (Timothy Dalton), and American Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett) encounter Dorian Gray (Reeve Carney), Dr. Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway) and Mina Harker (Olivia Llewellyn) in this psychosexual horror series created by John Logan.
  • Genre(s): Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Suspense
  • Creator: John Logan (I)
  • Show Type: Between Seasons
  • Season 1 premiere date: May 11, 2014
  • Episode Length: 60
  • Air Time: 10:00 PM
  • More Details and Credits »
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 37
  2. Negative: 0 out of 37
  1. Reviewed by: Jeff Korbelik
    May 12, 2014
    100
    What makes Penny click is the chemistry among the characters, especially the psychic and the gunslinger, who end up seducing the viewer with their seductive encounters. They make you forget this is an action show
  2. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    May 7, 2014
    83
    This John Logan creation promises an intriguing summer pastime, for an eight-week run anyway.
  3. Reviewed by: Tim Molloy
    May 9, 2014
    80
    This is, like Alan Moore's “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen,” a clever exploitation of characters in the public domain. But creator John Logan's story also thrives on its own. Penny Dreadful is a beguiling examination of that space between life and death.
  4. Reviewed by: Jeff Jensen
    May 7, 2014
    75
    It's a Frankenstory made with borrowed bits and recycled parts that could evolve into its own vibrant creation.
  5. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    May 9, 2014
    70
    It's weird and different enough to stick with for a little while to see how it develops.
  6. Reviewed by: David Hiltbrand
    May 8, 2014
    70
    The production and period values are outstanding, as is the cast, especially Timothy Dalton as famed African explorer Sir Malcolm Murray.... As creator John Logan moves away from the horror by the Thames and more toward the internal demons that haunt his protagonists, Penny veers toward the overwritten and overwrought. But by then, you may well be in for a pound.
  7. Reviewed by: Lily Moayeri
    May 9, 2014
    40
    Overall, it took Once Upon a Time a season to fall flat; Penny Dreadful does that immediately.

See all 37 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 38
  2. Negative: 3 out of 38
  1. Nov 2, 2014
    10
    I was sure that better television series "American horror story" nothing and never will be, but "Penny Dreadful" surpassed all my expectationsI was sure that better television series "American horror story" nothing and never will be, but "Penny Dreadful" surpassed all my expectations and beat American horror story "! Eva Green and Josh Hartnett is awesome! Well done! Expand
  2. May 19, 2014
    10
    The cynic in me is dead. Long live Penny Dreadful! I do not want to sound like I am giving you a lot of hyperbole but it's difficult not to. IThe cynic in me is dead. Long live Penny Dreadful! I do not want to sound like I am giving you a lot of hyperbole but it's difficult not to. I have not liked a show this much since I first discovered Dark Shadows when I was thirteen-years-old.

    Penny Dreadful begins with a slow burn pace but by the end of episode 2 everything had kicked into gear. I cannot put into words how well this show has taken my breath away. I would like to fully apologize for the doubts I had toward it upon seeing the early preview clips. I was utterly wrong. Nothing is what it seems and this show is the best Gothic Horror TV series I have seen in years.

    After dealing with the mediocre and pandering likes of Bitten and NBC's Dracula I had all but given up hope on my favorite genre of fiction but Penny Dreadful salvaged my faith in creativity.

    Penny dreadful is named for the 19th century slang term for a cheap pulp novel or serial such as Varney The Vampire or other Gothic classics that were originally often published in installments. Most of these works of literature dealt with terrifying and morbid premises and so were "dreadful" and obviously only cost a penny.

    The TV series Penny Dreadful pits the likes of Victor Frankenstein, his creation, the immortal Dorian Gray (from the novel The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde) and the characters of Dracula all in the same late nineteenth century setting.

    The show has managed to surprise me already within it's first two episodes and it keeps me guessing.

    The show is well acted with impressive and realistic production values. It also bears detailed and clever writing. Subtle nods to other works of classic literature are scattered through out in delightful Easter Egg quotes and references. Also so far I have not caught a single glimpse of computer generated monster effects. No. Everything I have seen thus far has been done with skillful and realistic practical effects so that everything feels real and tactile. There is no cheap, cartoonish or watery CG to draw me out of the story.

    I cannot put into words how much I love this show and hope that the third episode continues to impress me as the first two have.
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  3. May 12, 2014
    10
    I watched both episodes and if you like sex, violence, horror and a nice period series atmosphere you will like this show. I liked all theI watched both episodes and if you like sex, violence, horror and a nice period series atmosphere you will like this show. I liked all the main characters and it will be fun to watch the various monsters and villains integrate in future episodes. As for the critics, most have it right; yet a few of them want to kill a promising series before it gets up and running. This is a fun TV series, the real horror show is going on in Washington, so if you want to vent negativity you should have more than ample material there if you, or you employer have the guts to cover it. Expand
  4. Jul 20, 2014
    9
    First couple of episodes were tremendous. Fast and shockingly scary moments. Nice, crisp acting and script.. I absolutely love this showFirst couple of episodes were tremendous. Fast and shockingly scary moments. Nice, crisp acting and script.. I absolutely love this show and I am looking forward to season 2. Expand
  5. May 18, 2014
    8
    Penny Dreadful's premise/plot is hard to describe, but I will do my best.
    It is sort of like, a darker, "Sanctuary", set in England, in the
    Penny Dreadful's premise/plot is hard to describe, but I will do my best.
    It is sort of like, a darker, "Sanctuary", set in England, in the 19th century.
    The series follows a group of interesting characters with unique traits and dark pasts as they explore the horrific world of the supernatural as it creeps into their regular lives.

    The show is artistic, dark, well-scripted and acted and does a fantastic job taking preconceived literary marvels and making them fresh and interesting again, reintroducing us to the classic characters we love to hate or fear.

    So far, my only issue with Penny Dreadful is that it is slightly confusing and a bit cryptic. Additionally, I'm not sure the events of each episode are relayed in the order that would feel the most cohesive. It jumps around between characters and their situations sort of like the typical soap opera, making the show feel slightly like Frankenstein -- stitched together rather than one smooth flowing story.

    As this is a "Showtime" series, there is lots of completely pointless, unnecessary sex that has nothing to do with the plot and lots of prostitutes. I could do without both.
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  6. Jun 16, 2014
    6
    This series is difficult to watch. It has a great title, but is so pretentious that it becomes bogged down in it's own "greatness". The leadThis series is difficult to watch. It has a great title, but is so pretentious that it becomes bogged down in it's own "greatness". The lead female actor is terrible, overacting to the point that she become laughable. The colors are all dark browns, blacks, and reds, almost rendering it black and white. It has the now inescapable gay romance/straight romance that detracts and distracts from the story. I was excited when I heard about this series, esp. with the actors and fantasy characters, I thought it couldn't miss being a hit.; they showed me the error in my thinking. Expand
  7. May 16, 2014
    0
    Extremely boring and not thrilling or terrifying .Show is not scary enough maybe kids get scared ,They could have hire decent writer and anExtremely boring and not thrilling or terrifying .Show is not scary enough maybe kids get scared ,They could have hire decent writer and an editor with the money they have spent on Art direction.TV fans don't need this sort of show because there's too many successfull horror shows. Expand

See all 38 User Reviews

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